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It’s Electric: Broad Construction Exclusion Bars Coverage for Sprinkler Shock (NY)

January 30, 2020

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In the recent decision <a href=""><em>Castlepoint Ins. Co. v Southside Manhattan View LLC</em></a>, the First Department addressed the applicability of a broadly worded construction exclusion.   That exclusion expressly provides that it applies to any work performed as part of or in connection with the enumerated construction operations.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The underlying litigation concerned a personal injury that occurred at a construction site. The plaintiff alleged that while working on sprinklers at the site of a renovation project, he fell off a ladder after touching live, uninsulated electrical wires.  The insurer for the building disclaimed coverage, citing the construction exclusion in the policy.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The plaintiff argued that the work he was doing at the time of the injury, working on sprinklers, was not a part of any of the specific construction operations enumerated in the exclusion, and accordingly should not apply.  But the court was not convinced.  The First Department held that because the exclusion language applied not only to work that was part of but also “in connection to” the enumerated operations, it unambiguously applied to the sprinkler operations at issue.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This decision is a reminder to insurers and insureds of the importance of precise drafting in insurance contracts, particularly with respect to exclusions.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Andrew Debter for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="">Georgia Coats</a> with any questions.</p>


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